As Vancouver Giants star Ty Ronning inches closer to breaking the club’s single-season goal scoring record, it was a heads-up play late in the game that helped the Giants earn their third straight win.
Ronning refused to let up on a puck during a dominant offensive zone shift for his line late in the third with the game tied at three, and that persistence led to a booming goal from the point by defender Alex Kannok-Leipert. That marker eventually turned out to be the game-winner in a Giants 5-4 win over the Medicine Hat Tigers on Saturday.
Earlier in the game he moved to within one goal of tying Evander Kane’s franchise record of 48 goals, and it seemed every time he touched the puck the energy level of the crowd in the Langley Events Centre went up.
The assist on the winning goal marked Ronning’s 200th point in the Western Hockey League, a statistic that Giants head coach Jason McKee said proves his work ethic.
“It speaks to the consistency in his game,” he said. “He’s playing his best hockey right now, but he did a lot of work to get into this spot. He’s chasing something special right now [single-season goal record], but he’s staying within himself and not cheating the game.”
The Giants never trailed in the game, and kept responding to the Tigers pushback. McKee said he liked what he saw tonight.
“I like our resolve and sticking to it,” he said. “It would have been easy to say it’s not our night, but we got a couple of big goals from our young defensemen and our older guys really pushed the pace down low tonight. In the third we created some opportunities just through hard work and I thought we looked fast tonight.”
Tyler Popowich opened the scoring, and defender Bowen Byram and forward Dawson Holt also tallied for the Giants.
McKee said it was encouraging to get goals from a number of sources.
“We want to get offence from everyone and we especially want our defence up in the play and we saw that tonight,” he said. “We had some good reads from our young guys tonight.”
Giants goalie David Tendeck made 38 saves to pick up his 19th win on the season.
Vancouver’s record moves to 28 wins, 16 losses, five overtime losses and three shootout losses on the season, and they sit third in the B.C. division.
The Giants next hit the road and take on the Kelowna Rockets on Wednesday, and return home on Friday when they welcome the Seattle Thunderbirds.